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Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010
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NEW YORK: Rain showers on Sunday forced postponement of the US Open men's final, giving Novak Djokovic a much-needed rest day before he has to face top-ranked Rafael Nadal.
US Tennis Association officials waited about two hours beyond the scheduled start time of the championship match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium before calling off play for the day under dismal skies with dreary downpours forecast until dawn.
Spanish left-hander Nadal, trying to complete a career Grand Slam by capturing his first title on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts, was hit by rain at the US Open for the third year in a row.
Djokovic, whose lone Grand Slam title came at the 2008 Australian Open, has never beaten Nadal in a final or at a Grand Slam event but is set to try again for the $1.7 million top prize.
Nadal can become the seventh man to complete the career Grand Slam, joining Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Don Budge and Fred Perry in having won the US, French and Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.
But the extra day of rest diminishes the fatigue factor that might have slowed Djokovic in the wake of an exhausting semifinal victory over 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. “I don't know the rituals how to invite the rain, but yeah, an extra day would be great actually,” Djokovic said after his victory over Federer.
“Definitely I will have to do a lot of recovery because it has been an exhausting match.”
Last year, rain delayed the finish of a Nadal US Open quarterfinal against Chilean Fernando Gonzalez from Thursday to Saturday, pushing the semifinals to Sunday and the men's final to Monday.
In 2008, rain halted a Saturday semifinal between Nadal and Britain's Andy Murray in the third set and postponed the finish of that match until Sunday and the men's final until Monday, something that had not happened since 1987.
Now Nadal has an extra day to wait and think about a match that could lift his legend to another level with the Grand Slam sweep.
Rain halted the women's doubles final with American Liezel Huber and Russian Nadia Petrova leading American Vania King and Kazak Yaroslavl Shvedova 6-2, 4-6, 5-4.
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